Monday, September 23, 2013

Beautiful things...

Each week the YAGM volunteers reflect on their experience by answering different reflection questions that their Country Coordinator sends them. This week they were asked to reflect in a different way.

Each volunteer was asked to take a picture of 3-5 different things in their host community (people, places, etc) that they consider "beautiful," and to include a description of why these things have been beautiful to them in their first three weeks.
Here are some of the things that they find to be beautiful:

YAGM Katie M. writes, "I was so happy to discover a murga uruguaya club here in Corrientes. I went to my first practice on Thursday and really enjoyed it. I think it is so beautiful that students here have created this group and want to create this community space to creatively express themselves. I am so happy they have invited me into it." 
YAGM Josh B. writes, "this is my journal and everyday I write about the people I meet and the experiences that I have in all the various aspects of my community and site placements. I am excited to skim back through the pages months and years from now."

YAGM Jen D. writes, "Fernanda is a first-grader who attends Club de Niños at La Obra.  She has the heartiest laugh I’ve ever heard come from a little girl.  Seriously, there is no way not to be in a great mood when she laughs.  This photo was taken during a field trip to a plaza in the city.  While our card game lasted all of two minutes, Fernanda took great care in arranging the cards just right for this photo."

YAGM Tyler D. writes, "No words needed for this dude he's the bomb. It was also a great night for a stroll and I always find beauty in water so that helps too." 

YAGM Kristyn Z. writes, "Mate. How beautiful is that? Sitting around outside in a park, chatting and sharing mate. Nothing better."

YAGM Elizabeth T. writes, "I love my little wooden nightstand and lamp. After a long, cold day of strained ears and wet feet, nothing looks quite as beautiful as a steaming cup of coffee/hot chocolate and a book... Next week though, I'm leveling up and plan on borrowing one of the novels in Spanish. "

Erin B. writes, "Saturdays at Congregación San Lucas are the busiest day of the week. Children, youth, families, and older adults pass through at different times of the day, and many people stick around for hours at a time. It is beautiful to see this wall filled with backpacks and jackets, because it means that there is a community that it alive and well in this place."

The Beginning of Life in Uruguay-- by Jen D.

Uruguay volunteer, Jen D., writes poetically about her first few weeks in her host community.
The days are long but the weeks short
At work I’m a friend, a companion
In the morning with teens
Afternoon with the kids
People whose lives have seen different problems than mine
Some because of money, some drugs, some broken relationships
Some because of things I cannot even understand
(and this is not the fault of the language barrier)
I am here for the relationship
My “work” comes in the form futbol (soccer) games, cooking, and swimming
Sometimes via jump rope or homework or dancing
My assignment is to be; to listen and to participate
The assignment is consistency
What am I doing today?
The same as last week and the same as next week
Still coming, still going, still playing, still smiling
“Good morning”, kiss on the cheek, time for activity
“Will you play with us tomorrow/next week?”
“Of course, there’s no place I’d rather be”
The days are long but the weeks are short

(versión en Castellano)
Los días son largos pero las semanas, cortas

En el trabajo, soy una amiga, una compañera
En la mañana con adolescentes
A la tarde con los niños

Personas que en sus vidas han tenido problemas distintos a los míos
Algunos por el dinero, algunos por las drogas, algunos por relaciones rotas
Algunos por razones que no puedo entender
(y no es por la culpa del idioma)

Estoy acá por la relación

Mi “trabajo” viene en la forma de partidos de fútbol, cocinando, y nadando
A veces a través de saltar la cuerda, o con tarea escolar, o con baile
Mi tarea es “estar”: escuchar y participar
La tarea es consistencia

¿Qué estoy haciendo hoy?
Lo mismo que la semana pasada y lo mismo que la próxima semana
Todavía viniendo, todavía yendo, todavía jugando, todavía sonriendo

“Buen día”, un beso en mi cachete, la hora para actividad
“¿Jugas con nosotros mañana/la semana que viene?”
“Por supuesto, no hay ningún lugar en el que me interesaría más estar”

Los días son largos pero las semanas, cortas

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Orientation Highlights

The YAGM volunteers traveled to their host communities last night. Here are some pictures of the highlights from their orientation, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina...

Just after arriving to Buenos Aires

Pastor Alan Eldrid tells the history of this IELU congregation, that includes the stories of immigrants from Hungary and Slovakia.

Pastora Wilma Rommel, Vice President of the IELU, shows the distribution of the IELU congregations throughout Argentina and Uruguay, with the map at the IELU´s central offices in Buenos Aires
Young adults from nearby IELU congregations teach the YAGMs "Castellano," the form of Spanish used here. The classes invove interactive games, music, and other creative approaches of learning and practicing the language for the YAGMs´daily life. 

Music Day! The YAGM volunteers write 2 songs in Castellano (videos of these songs to follow) accompanied by the musical friends of the Castellano instructors.

Some group-building activities to build trust within the group and to discuss the ways in which they will communicate their experience to their loved ones in the Sending Communities.

The YAGMs in front of Argentina´s government house, watching the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo march in this plaza, as they do each Thursday afternoon.

Jen, a YAGM who will live in Uruguay this year, learns different techniques of how to fold an empanada; a common food in both Argentina and Uruguay.